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Government Extended Curfew, Relaxes Worshiping Restriction

The Gambia government has extended the State of Public Emergency to another 21 days on Thursday including curfew while easing some tough restrictions that halted public worshiping.

“Alarmed by the recent upsurge in the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections and deaths in The Gambia and based on advisory from The Health Ministry, His Excellency President Adama Barrow in exercise of the powers vested in him by Section 34 (6) and pursuant to Section 34 (2) of the 1997 Constitution declares a State of Public Emergency and a curfew throughout The Gambia for an additional period of 21 days,” the government spokesperson Ebrima G. Sankareh said in a statement.

He said the Public Health (Dangerous Infectious Diseases) Protection Regulations, 2020 and Emergency Powers Regulations published in the Gazette on 5th August 2020, as modified below shall continue to operate throughout the period of this state of public emergency.

         Ebrima G. Sankareh

“All educational institutions (Universities, Colleges, Schools, Madrassas, Daras, Majalis and Gamos) remain closed. An educational institution may be opened for official use by administrative staff and shall open solely for the purpose of administering the West African Senior School Leaving Certificate Exams (Grade 12) from 17th August to the 7th September 2020.

“A public place of worship (mosque, church, et cetera.) may be opened fifteen (15) minutes before scheduled congregational prayers and shall be closed immediately after the end of prayers. A person in charge of a place of worship shall ensure the availability of hand cleansing and hygiene materials at the entrance of the premises to be used by all worshipers.”

The new restrictions mandated each worshiper to wear a face mask covering the mouth and nose; all taps and toilets in the premises of worship centres shall remain closed to the public. In the cases of mosques, all worshipers shall come with their own prayer mats and worshipers shall keep a distance of at least one (1) metre from each other.

“By this Regulation, all churches or mosques shall be closed immediately after every congregational prayer and a Special Committee shall be established by each worship centre in The Gambia for the observance of these new public health and safety guidelines.

“The Gambia Government encourages all Mosque and Church Committees to engage their members and worshipers in adhering to the letter of the State of Public Emergency Regulations governing places of worships and all other aspects of public life,” he said.

Night curfew from 10pm to 5am daily remains in place throughout The Gambia, he said.

According to Sankareh, persons on official COVID-19 duties, ambulances and public officials on essential assignments are exempted from the curfew.

“Anyone who violates the curfew commits an offence and is liable to a fine of Five Thousand Gambian Dalasi (D5,000) or in default of payment be ordered to undergo community service of cleaning public markets for a period of one week in the area he or she committed the offence.”

“All forms of public gatherings remain prohibited. All other Regulations on the compulsory wearing of face-masks, operations of markets and shopping areas, opening hours of food and non-food outlets, closure of air, sea and land borders of The Gambia and penalties for spreading false information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic remain in place.”

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